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Game 98 preview: Royals at Red Sox

Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (45-52)ROYALS (48-48)
Holt 3BCain CF
Nava LFInfante 2B
Pedroia 2BHosmer 1B
Ortiz DHValencia 3B
Carp 1BGordon LF
Victorino RFButler DH
Drew SSEscobar SS
Ross CHayes C
Bradley Jr. CFAoki RF
Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (9-7, 2.65)Pitching: RHP Yordano Ventura (7-7, 3.22)

Game time: 1:35 p.m.

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Red Sox vs. Ventura: No history.

Royals vs. Lester: Billy Butler 4-19, Alex Gordon 2-17, Danny Valencia 5-17, Raul Ibanez 5-15, Alcides Escobar 3-10, Eric Hosmer 3-10, Omar Infante 3-11, Moustakas 3-7, Cain 2-8, Dyson 0-3, Hayes 0-3, Perez 1-2.

Stat of the Day: The Red Sox are 34-0 when leading after the eighth inning. They are the only team in baseball that hasn’t lost a game when they were ahead going into the ninth inning.

Notes: Jackie Bradley Jr. has 11 outfield assists (second only to Yoenis Cespedes) and six double plays (twice as many as anyone else in baseball). During batting practice Saturday, NESN’s Gary Striewski challenged Bradley, who has shown his arm strength from the outfield this season, to throw from home plate to the stands in the outfield. He did. Here’s the video from

The Sox have won six of their past seven games since falling a season-high 12-games under .500 on July 8, but still sit in last place in the AL East, a game behind the Tampa Bay Rays in the win column, 8.5 games behind first place Baltimore Orioles in the division and seven games back in the wild card race … Jon Lester has dominated the Royals like no other team in baseball. In eight of his 10 career starts, Lester’s given up one run or less against them, he no-hit them in 2008 and his 1.60 lifetime ERA against them is his lowest against any opponent … Ventura, in his first full season in the majors, will make his first career start against the Sox and his 19th appearance of the season. He’s coming off his first career relief appearance last Sunday, entering in the sixth against the Tigers, working 1.2 innings, giving up just one run, retiring five of the six batters he faced with three strikeouts … Mike Napoli, who smashed the deciding home run in the Sox’s 2-1 win on Saturday, has reached base in 21 of his past 22 games … Eric Hosmer is on a career long 15-game hit streak ...

Song of the day: “Wake up Everybody,” by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes.

Julian Benbow can be reached at
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